South Tyneside leaders warn over impact of climate change

Councillors have warned of the continued impact of climate change on society.

By Nic Marko
Friday, 10th June 2022, 5:28 pm

Climate change and reaching carbon net zero came up as key topics at the latest meeting of the pensions committee, which oversees the running of the Tyne and Wear Pensions Fund.

The organisation has already had a focus on the issue over the past 18 months with long-term policies and targets set, along with a range of interim aims.

At the latest meeting of the committee on Thursday (June 9) at South Shields Town Hall, tackling climate change was once again highlighted as being key for the future.

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South Shields Town Hall.

However concerns were also raised by how issues such as rising fuel prices and Russia’s war on Ukraine might impact the issue.

Cllr Anne Walsh, chair of the committee and Biddick and All Saints ward representative in South Tyneside, stressed how striving towards net zero targets and other climate change initiatives remains key.

She said: “Third world countries are the ones who are suffering, not just through the lack of rain, quality food, they are suffering because of climate change, constant flooding, and that’s why we need to be totally responsible.

“We’ve just got to keep it in mind on everything, it just entrenches everything.”

The comments came after Northumberland County Council representative Cllr Richard Dodd raised concerns over the amount of changing circumstances affecting the world, such as conflicts in Ukraine and rising fuel prices, and if this would impact plans.

He said: “The climate change agenda is fantastic what we’re trying to achieve, but the world has actually changed somewhat.

“Certain little changes that are little at the minute, but there may be an avalanche in the next year.”

Officers stressed annual reviews and updates will continue to be provided as they strive to hit their targets.

Cllr Jim Foreman, Cleadon Park representative on South Tyneside Council, highlighted they have already carried out work and continue to look at the climate change agenda, with the work involved a good example for future training guidance.

He said: “We’ve been discussing climate change for the last three, four, five years.

“We have done a lot of good work within that area, but the length of time it’s taken to change our strategies and get them into place, I think it needs to be recognised.”

Pension committee targets in place include a reduction in carbon emissions of 30% to 35% by 2025 and of 50% to 60% by 2030, several net zero aims, and undertaking a carbon footprint review each year.